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Horticulture

Developing improved crop protection options in support of intensification of sweetpotato production in Papua New Guinea

Project Code: HORT/2014/083
Program: Horticulture
Budget:
A$1,898,596
Research Program Manager: Ms. Irene Kernot
Project Leader: Geoff Gurr - Charles Sturt University
Duration:
NOV 2016
2020
AUG 2021
Project Status: Legally Committed/Active
Map
map_hort-2014-083
Key partners
Fresh Produce Development Agency Ltd
National Agricultural Research Institute
Papua New Guinea University of Technology
University of Southern Queensland
DOCUMENTS

Overview 

This project is developing, testing and promoting the adoption of sustainable solutions to protect sweetpotato crop production in Papua New Guinea. 

Sweetpotato is PNG’s major staple food crop - around 90% of the population consists of semi-subsistence smallholder farmers for whom sweetpotato is a major crop species. 

The crop is the focus of efforts to increase commercialisation of fresh product marketing and processing. 

A number of crop protection issues have been identified and addressed in this project which aims to develop practical pest management options for smallholder growers. Prevalence of sweetpotato weevil and the need for clean planting material to address losses from viral diseases and nematodes is also addressed. 

Postharvest losses to sweetpotato roots constrain the development of commercial production and marketing into cities as a cash crop. The development of new crop-protection methods would support commercial production as well as food security for subsistence for smallholders and complement work on soil management and crop nutrition.  

Expected project outcomes

  • Potential for new and enhanced crop protection options based on cultural practices.
  • Availability of biological control agents for growers.
  • Greater understanding among farmers of the range of practices which can be used.
  • Accelerated change from a largely subsistence crop system, with some local marketing, to an expanded commercial sector for sweetpotato.
  • Increased and more consistent sweetpotato availability and lower levels of pest infestation and pest and disease damage.
  • Economic empowerment of women through opportunities to find paid employment in commercial sweetpotato growing and marketing enterprises.
  • Reduced losses of sweetpotato due to pests and diseases. 
  • Greater food security and reduced nutrient malnutrition in rural communities.
  • Greater cash income to rural households from the sale of sweetpotato.
  • Increased capacity for farmers to prevent and stop major biotic threats.